HAVING been well-briefed about, and having lived through and so far survived, the current economic climate for the past three to four years, I fully understand that councils have to balance their books.

City council deputy leader Ed Turner’s letter (Tuesday’s Oxford Mail ViewPoints), despite the number of points he wishes to raise, does nothing for me at least, to make good the underhand and in some quarters, seemingly inappropriate attitude and behaviour of a small section of our elected city council during recent months.

I raised a matter in your letters pages recently, after which my two local councillors went to great pains to stress to me in person that they knew nothing about the intended plan.

Cllr Turner now informs us all that if we go and look hard enough for these applications (perhaps taking for granted that we have nothing else to do) we can find them. So in response to Cllr Turner’s points, may I ask: Firstly, how do I as a citizen either engage in a policy or object to a plan I know nothing about?

Secondly, how do residents without a computer or smart phone, sign up to email alerts?

Thirdly, how do I read a notice that (in our street’s case at least) had been positioned in such a way that no-one would easily get to read it, no matter how brightly coloured it was?

Fourthly, if other councillors are not kept up to speed on these issues in their areas, how do they then disseminate that information to residents?

Fifthly, why should residents have to go out of their way and search for information that they deserve to be supplied with in the first place? Yes, the council magazine suggested decisions would be made but not exactly what they were to be.

As was reported in the Oxford Mail, a decision to save £45,000 by not sending letters is, on the surface, a welcome one but it then does nothing to keep down additional costs should the council later have to stump up even more of our money in court, trying to defend itself when citizens – as is their right – object to what the council is up to when they eventually find out.

Furthermore, it’s not just Joe Public like me taking issue with decisions, is it?

Recent editions of the Oxford Mail have reported that councillors in Cowley were in the dark about plans made for their area.

Although unelected, Mr Haines in Marston, to his great credit, at least keeps the locals well informed of issues affecting them.

Cllr Turner is, in football parlance, well offside when he describes your editorial comment writer as having “lost his or her sense of geography”.

Cherwell District Council's decisions are exactly that and for their electorate to debate, accept or object to, not a senior Oxford councillor. What’s good for the goose is a pretty weak argument.

When residents from different backgrounds, in different parts of the city, complain about the same issue, at the same time, something is obviously wrong and needs to be addressed.

I understand the public purse strings need to be tightened, I fully understand that unwelcome decisions often need to be made. But due care, attention and a fair deal for all the people in our city is, I would hope, of paramount importance to all our elected representatives.

Democratic transparency costs nothing, no matter which political party is involved.

DAVID WILLIAMS, David Walter Close, Oxford